NEWS ANALYSIS: The new iPad will work just fine with most cloud applications. This has a lot to do with LTE technology and the ability to move data from the data center to the tablet.
iPad has always had the potential for being the ideal cloud device. Its easy
to use, and it has good communications capabilities. Plus, it has a screen
thats large enough to be useful, and its easy to keep with you so its there
when you need it. But can you use the iPad for anything thats useful in
business, such as working with Microsoft Word documents?
I discovered when I was working on a project involving Microsoft Office 365 and
Google Apps for Business
, the iPad and its Safari browser work just fine.
this means you can run Microsoft Office applications on your iPad, as long as
theyre in the cloud. You can also run Googles application suite the same way.
In fact, Safari was one of the target browsers Microsoft worked with when it
developed Office 365. The problem with using your iPad to run Office
applications in the cloud was that the process could be very slow unless you
were using a good, fast WiFi solution. That meant that you were kind of stuck
using the iPad in your office. That hotspot at Starbucks may be convenient.
However, its not secure, and its not fast, especially if half your neighbors
are in the same Starbucks working on their resumes.
Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology.
The addition of 4G LTE networking
equation entirely. Where once you were forced to use pokey 3G solutions that
ranged in speed from slow to slower, theres now a real option that lets you
use those Office applications over a wireless network, and have them perform as
theyre supposed to perform. And it doesnt matter whether were thinking of
Google Docs or Microsoft Word; theyll perform just fine in an LTE environment.
you probably wont want to use your new iPad to create massive spreadsheets or
to write a thousand-page novel, theres no reason why you cant use it for most
normal office tasks. The advent of LTE means that you wont have to deal with
the frustrating latency that plagued many 3G solutions, and you wont have to
spend your time watching progress bars as documents or other items load. Youll
get performance similar to what youve had with WiFi, assuming you had fast
WiFi and a good network connection behind it.
performance is a critical issue for cloud applications. You need to have your
data pop on to the screen as close to instantly as possible. When things slow
down, productivity suffers. Worse, patience runs out.
capability to support LTE, as well as the IT departments ability to prepare the
data center to take advantage of this new networking technology, is a key part
of why the new iPad is such a boon to business. Verizon Wireless already has
the United States effectively blanketed by LTE. AT&T isnt there yet, but
the company is rolling out LTE to a few new cities every week. Most likely, the
company would have been much farther along by now if it hadnt consumed its
resources in an ill-fated attempt to take over T-Mobile.
most important about the iPad and LTE is that it frees knowledge workers from
their desks. While the 3G version of the iPad did that to some extent, it takes
the nearly instantaneous access to knowledge to allow these workers to be
really effective in a mobile environment. Now, with an LTE-enabled tablet,
workers can be productive wherever they are. This is something that until now
you could only do if you had a wireless network card in your laptop, or didnt
mind working on from the tiny screen of your mobile phone.
are a couple of things to keep in mind when thinking about using your new iPad
with the cloud.
first is that Apples iCloud isnt the cloud were talking about. iCloud, while
handy, is really just cloud-based storage. Thats also true of many of the
cloud providers we see advertised. They are great places to put your data for
safekeeping, but theyre not the same thing as working in the cloud.
were looking at instead is the ability to do those things that people do most
often in the workplace. Get a document for editing or for approval. Read the
document; make changes, if necessary; and save the document. Maybe the job will
also require converting the document into a PDF file, or sending it along to
someone else to review. You can do all of these tasks on any iPad, but those
tasks only work well if youre in range of WiFi, or if you have LTE. Big
documents start getting less convenient when things slow down.
should also know that the new iPad isnt the only
LTE-capable tablet out there. Verizon Wireless sells the
4G LTE-enabled Droid Xyboard from Motorola
, which appears to have
replaced the Xoom, and it features the same speed and the same cloud access
that you get from the new iPad. Its an Android tablet, which many people
prefer to the iOS-based iPad, and its also very fast.